April 25: Hundreds of Thousands March in D.C.

Outpouring for Women's Choice

Revolutionary Worker #1239, May 9, 2004, posted at http://rwor.org

On April 25, close to a million people marched and rallied in Washington, DC--upholding the rights of women to abortion in the U.S. and around the world--and protesting the war on women being waged by the Bush administration. This was the first major demonstration supporting the right to abortion in 12 years--and it was a really welcome and very positive development on the political landscape.

This huge outpouring of protest--which was characterized by many people newly awakening to political life who had not taken to the streets before--shows that there are millions of people in the U.S. who are profoundly disturbed by the whole direction of society and the culture wars raging throughout the country. The large percentage of college age youth in the crowd, the receptivity among them to the slogan "abortion on demand and without apology," and the openness to a revolutionary perspective on abortion and the liberation of women shows that people are looking for solutions and direction.

Millions are looking for change--looking for a chance to express their hatred for the ugly vision of society concentrated in the Bush agenda. And this shows the potential for truly massive resistance. At the same time, the level of political understanding at the demonstration brought home the need for really deepening the consciousness of the people about where these culture wars are coming from, what kind of resistance is required to oppose them, and why a whole revolutionary transformation of society is necessary and possible to move beyond the terms dictated by the imperialist system, if women are to be emancipated.

The emphasis throughout the day on elections--and the hopes among the hundreds of thousands there that voting for Democrats would be a solution--shows that the people who came out to defend abortion rights in Washington need to connect up with the revolutionary movement, and that revolutionary-minded people and communists have a lot of work to do. Because, simply put, the Democrats don't represent any way to stand up and fight against the forces and the system that has produced this hateful regime that is so determined to impose religious dogmas and traditional values, throw down over abortion, gay marriage, religious morality in public life, teenage sexuality, birth control education, cultural diversity, political dissent--a regime that is waging a brutal and unjust war in Iraq, occupying Afghanistan, claiming the right to dominate and dictate to everyone on the planet, and putting into place dangerous new powers for the government to spy on, imprison, and deny political rights to the people. One has only to look at the effect of the Clinton years, with their mantra of `legal but rare,' where the whole struggle for abortion rights was put on the defensive, to know that relying on electing the Democrats has nothing to do with standing up to and defeating the deadly social program of enslaving traditional values that is being unleashed throughout society. And one could also ask a simple question such as why John Kerry was not even at the march on Washington to stand with the protesters?

As the RW has pointed out, everything Bush stands for must be called out, exposed, denounced and resisted, and this will not happen by focusing on the elections--where such challenges have already been ruled out of order. Something else, something independent, something determined needs to be forged. It must be manifested in ways that cannot be hidden, denied or misrepresented--in the streets, and in other ways throughout society. Millions of people who want to deny a mandate to the whole Bush agenda need to get a strategic picture of why this kind of resistance is necessary--and why the call for more than a million people in the streets of New York City during the Republican convention to "deliver a NO to Bush and all that he stands for" needs to be made a reality.

Will there be a culture of resistance to really challenge and defeat the war on women? Or will the people who feel a deep gut hatred for what is going on in this society be brought back into the fold, relying on and being betrayed by ruling class politics and politicians.

And people need to look deeper at the contradictions of the capitalist/imperialist system that are giving rise to these culture wars--how the imperialists are unleashing all this traditional morality and fundamentalist religion at a time when the basis of the traditional patriarchal family and traditional family values are being eroded. And how this is a major contradiction that is coming to a head and will be resolved one way or another.

As RW reporter Osage Bell wrote: "RCP Chairman Bob Avakian has talked about how this is potentially a very explosive contradiction. It is vitally important for those who preside over this system to `contain' this contradiction and not to allow it to tear society apart. They don't want a situation where great numbers of women-- including many professional and other middle class women--are being driven into radical opposition to the status quo.

"But those of us who dream of a different society want that kind of situation! We want to unleash women-- and men--to completely tear down those ancient traditions of patriarchy. It is possible--and it is necessary!--to dream of a future society where men and women can freely relate and interact on the basis of true mutual respect and fight together for real liberation. To envision new forms of intimacy and family that are liberated from the ugly traditional oppression and submission of the past. And we need to actually set our sights on this future!

"As these contradictions in today's society get sharper, how will they be dealt with? How will they get resolved? We don't want to soften the edges of these contradictions. We want to strain against them, pushing and pulling against the limits--but with what aim?"

Whether what happens in this election season will put the people in a position to be able to advance on the road to a different future, to be in a position to take the next step to liberate women and all of humanity--or whether people's hopes and dreams will be dashed and crushed--that is up to us.